Sussex County government is earning all A’s when it comes to fiscal management, winning another top mark from Wall Street investment analysts.
S&P Global Ratings on Friday, Sept. 11, moved the County’s general obligation bond rating — a credit score for businesses and governments — from AA+ to AAA, the highest mark possible. The bump up is the second change in the County’s bond rating in the past 14 months, mirroring one from Moody Investor Services in July 2019. Concurrent with S&P’s action, Moody’s also reviewed and maintained its top AAA rating for the County this week.
The S&P credit rating upgrade reflects “the County's diversifying and growing economy and its strong financial management practices that, among other things, have led to very strong budgetary performance over several years, including during the current and past recessions,” S&P said in its rating action statement.
The firm went on to praise the County for its “conservative and prudent budgeting practices,” noting those, along with healthy reserves, have positioned the County well in the face of economic pressures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
County government, and by extension local taxpayers, will benefit from the rating upgrade in the form of more affordable loans, county officials said, as Sussex County will be more attractive to investors who buy bonds used to pay for County capital projects, such as public wastewater construction, for example.
“Attaining a ‘AAA’ bond rating is no easy feat, and it’s almost unheard of in challenging economic times like these,” County Finance Director Gina A. Jennings said. “I’m proud that the County has earned the confidence of both credit rating agencies, and even more proud of the fact that our sound and prudent financial management continues to benefit the citizens we serve.”